SEVEN LEADING THEATRES of EUROPE by GEORGE DJORDJEVIC
SEVEN LEADING THEATERS OF
BY GEORGE DJORDJEVIC
Seven Leading Theatres of Europe is a presentation about the glorious, turbulent and twenty-five centuries
young existence of European theatres created by George Djordjevic.
From its beginning in Ancient Greece to the Comédie Française in Paris, the Burgtheater in Vienna, the
Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London, the Moscow Art Theatre in Moscow, the Ekhof Theatre in Gotha,
the Teatro Alla Scala in Milan and beyond, people have been attending performances to be entertained,
educated and to explore the most inner part of human nature. The theatre is a place, where we go to meet
and socialize with others in the real sense, face to face. Viewed in this way, theatre according to George
Djordjevic, should be considered not only as one of the first “social networks” but also as the social
network with the most followers of all time. Only time will tell how the 25 century young theatre and the new
technologies of tomorrow will complement one another. Still, George Djordjevic suggests, we can be sure of
one thing, new technology must be acceptable to the most inner part of our nature, and not the other way
around. In other words, theatre is here to stay.
To learn more about George Djordjevic Workshops and lectures please go to:
Θέατρο του Διονύσου
The Theater of Dionysus; Athens, Greece
The Theater of Dionysus is the best
known theatre of Ancient Greece.
When finished in 360 BC the theatre
had 17,000 seats and superb acoustic,
a quality associated with all Greek
It is here that the most prestigious
drama festival in Ancient Greece was
held in early April of each year.
Tragedies written 25 centuries ago by
Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides,
as well as comedies written by
Aristophanes and Menander all
premiered here and started their three
millennium long run though theatres
around the world.
Comédie Française; Paris, France
The Comédie Française is the oldest theatre
company in Europe today. It was founded by a
decree of the Louis XIV on August 24, 1680 by
merging two Parisian acting troupes of the
time, the troupe of the Hôtel Guénégaud and
that of the Hôtel de Bourgogne.
The repertoire of the Comédie Française at
that time consisted of a collection of
theatrical works by Molière, named one of the
greatest masters of comedy of the Western
literature, and Jean Racine. Works by Pierre
Corneille, Paul Scarron and Jean Rotrou were
performed as well. At the beginning of the 18th
Century plays written by Voltaire, Destouches,
Gresset, Piron and Fagan where added to the
repertory. During the 19th Century the
repertoire included plays by Hugo, Dumas,
Pailleron and Coppée.
To date, the repertoire of Comédie-Française
has reached 3,000 works.
Burgtheater, Vienna, Austria
In 1776 the Teutsches Nationaltheater, as it was
then called, was placed under court
administration by a royal decree signed by
Joseph II. In 1794, the theatre was renamed
“K.K. Hoftheater nächst der Burg”. On October
14th, 1888 the company’s new theatre building,
seen here, opened its doors to the public. In
1918 the imperial theater was renamed the
Burgtheater and passed into ownership of the
state. It is the second oldest theatre company in
Europe today and the first national theatre of the
During the 19th century the repertoire included
popular works of Western drama. In addition the
repertoire included very popular light comedies
of Viennese life written by Eduard von
Bauernfeld. Together with adaptations of ancient
Greek and Spanish baroque dramas by Franz
Grillparzer, this helped to established Vienna as
a “theatre city” with an international outlook.
Московский академический театр
Moscow Art Theatre; Moscow, Russia
Established by Konstantin S. Stanislavsky and Vladimir I.
Nemirovich-Danchenko in 1898. The core of the company
was formed from students of the drama branch of the
Musical-Drama School of the Moscow Philharmonic
Society and the students of the Art and Literature
It opened on October 14, 1898 with the play “Tsar Fedor
Ioanovich” by Alexei Tolstoy. Dramas written by Anton
Chekhov The Seagull, Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters, The
Cherry Orchard, and Maxim Gorky, The Petty Bourgeoisie
and Lower Depths, as well as “Woe from Wit” by A. S.
Griboedov, Blue Bird” by M. Meretlink, “A Month in the
Country” by I. S. Turgenev, “Hamlet” by W. Shakespeare,
“The Imaginary patient” (“Le Malade imaginaire”) by J. B.
Moliere and others were among the best performances of
the Moscow Art Theatre.
In 1912, studios for the preparation of actors were
created under the MAT.
Today, a century later, the Moscow Art Theatre and
Stanislavsky with his System are recognized as pioneers
of a new, and the most successful, trend in the history of
acting and new principals of direction.
Shakespeare’s Globe, London, UK
The Globe Theatre, an Elizabethan Playhouse
built in 1597 by the playing company “Lord
Chamberlain's Men”. The company held
exclusive rights to perform Shakespeare's
plays. Shakespeare was a member of this
company, together with Richard Burbage, one
of the most famous English actors of
Renaissance era, who played leading roles in
Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Othello, King Lear and
The Lord Chamberlain’s Man became the
King's Men in 1603 with King James as
company's patron. In 1644, the Globe Theatre
In 1970, American actor and director Sam
Wanamaker founded the Shakespeare Globe
Trust and the International Shakespeare
Globe Centre, with the objective of building a
faithful recreation of Shakespeare's Globe;
based on available evidence. Today’s
Shakespeare Globe Theatre is located near its
original location, in the London Borough of
Southwark, on the south bank of the River
Ekhof Theatre; Gotha, Germany
Founded in 1775 when the Duke of Saxe-Gotha
invited the actor Konrad Ekhof to form the first
permanent court theatre in Germany in the 18th
Century. Upon its formation, the theatre was
housed in the Friedenstein Palace, the largest early
Baroque palace in the area. Being the first regular
court theatre among the Germany’s theatre
network, the Gotha Court Theatre is considered the
birthplace of modern German theatre.
Today, theatre is still equipped with the same,
nicely preserved, fully functioning stage machinery
from the time of its formation. During his short
directorship, Conrad Ekhof, referred to as the
“Father of German acting” and creator of the
realistic style in theatre, was able to establish a
theatre with many unique assets: fixed days of
performance, regular salaries, a growing repertoire,
subscriptions, tickets sold to all citizens,
subsidies, and a pension fund. He died in 1778.
After his death the name of the theatre change in
his honor to the Ekhof Theatre.
Teatro Alla Scala, Milan, Italy
The Teatro la Scala was founded under the
auspices of the Empress Maria Theresa of
Austria, to replace the Royal Ducal Theatre,
which was destroyed by fire on 26 February
1776. La Scala opened on 3 August 1778 with
Antonio Salieri's opera L'Europa riconosciuta,
with a libretto by Mattia Verazi.
Great successes of the operas by Gioachino
Rossini, Geatano Donizetti and Vincenzo Bellini
performed for the first time in La Scala in the
early part of the 19th century and Gioseppe
Verdi’s work, whose name is associate to La
Scala more then any other in La Scala history,
starting in 1842, with first performance of
Nabucco, established La Scala as one of the all
premiere opera houses in the world. At the end
of the 18th century to the beginning of the 19th
century, during Rossini’s era, choreographers
Salvatore Vigano i Carlos Blasis were credited
with adding ballet to operas. Almost 100 years
after its opening, in 1872, La Scala became the
property of the City of Milan. Theatre was closed
during the WWI.In 1920 the conductor Arturo
Toscanini led a council to raise money to reopen
it, organizing it as an autonomous corporation.
In 1997 La Scala was converted to a Foundation
under private ownership, thus opening a
decisive phase of modernization.
Additional lectures of this series created and presented by George Djordjevic include:
Leading Theatres of North America
Leading Theatres of South America
Leading Theatres of Central America
Leading Theatres of Africa
Leading Theatres of Asia
Leading Theatres Of Australia
Leading Directors At Work
All lectures are approximately two hours long.
To learn more about George Djordjevic Workshops and Lectures please go to:
COVER PHOTO: The National Theatre; Praha, Czech Republic. Used with permission.
MUSIC: FROM SOUL AND SPIRIT. COPYRIGHT. USED WITH PERMISSION